One Of Those Women
I knew in an instant I was one of those women.If you live long enough suppressing and pretending something never happened, you can almost lull yourself into believing it. That’s exactly where I was all those years ago. What was supposed to be an evening of friends, laughter, and game playing quickly became a night I knew “something” was not right with me. I just didn’t have the tools back then to get help or even know where to go to get it for that matter.
There were many new things in my life at that time. I had just had my first child, moved to a new neighborhood, was in my first home, and was beginning in a new church. Let me clarify that last bit: it was the very FIRST church I had ever attended.
Everything was new in my life, including the realization I was about to discover that fateful night.
As I sat laughing and playing cards with the women, thoughts of my old life were the furthest thing from my mind … until the conversation topic shifted. The topic that month at the round tables was one for which I was nowhere near prepared. We usually talked about recipes, men and, of course, other women. *Sigh* As we were talking about a certain movie star’s life, my neighbor made this very abrupt statement: “How on earth could a woman allow herself to be abused? I mean, if a man ever laid his hand on me that would be the last thing he ever did. I just don’t know what’s wrong with those women!”
For a moment my legs went numb as everyone was agreeing and giving high fives.
I knew in an instant I was one of those women.The worst part? I remained silent. Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve worked through that shame and there is grace for me, I know. I know.
Still, the fact remains … I was silent.
I left that night and proceeded to live many years in SILENCE because I couldn’t bear what people would think of me. My victim mentality (lies from the enemy) would tell me thoughts like “If I just never spoke about it or told my story then I would always remain normal like everyone else”. A very wise man once asked me to define “normal”. I could not. The truth is, we all have our own definition of normal, and every view is different because it comes from the eyes that see it. Like the old saying “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” so is what’s “normal”.
My version of normal was infused by many years of abuse, neglect, and emotional trauma. So consequently, the version of my normal was incorrect. Nowadays I ask, “What does God say is normal?” He doesn’t. There is nothing normal about our extraordinary, faithful, loving God! Therefore, because His spirit lives in us, there is nothing normal about us!
Many years have passed and I have clearly learned that my silence was not odd behavior for a woman who was once physically abused. In fact, it fits right in line with the victim mentality I lived in for many years. When asked to write this article, I flinched for a second … even after all these years. What would people really think of me but never say? Would they talk about me behind my back? Or worse, would they make an incorrect judgment about how they would have handled it compared to the way I handled it?
What’s been burning in my heart for a while—and it’s the sole reason I love to speak to women about their self-image or sworth—is this question:
How many women are silent?
How many women never tell their family members, their friends, or even people they go to church with because they are afraid they won’t be considered normal?
How many women are just like me—one of those women—and yet never speak about it?
If I can be so bold, and nowadays I usually am, I would guess it’s in the thousands. If statistics are correct, one out of every five women who even read this article are being abused; even writing that brings me to tears. I get it. We are afraid. Abuse is a beastly topic that even people in our own church are afraid to speak to. It has so many threads, and we feel if we start to unravel those threads … then what? I don’t have the answers, but I do know this: It’s time we use our voices.
Silence is the bed in which shame breeds. Silence is where Satan wants us because in our silence and isolation, he can have his way with our thoughts.
If you are reading this and you have been silent, know that there is hope. Anything that is hidden needs to be seen— needs to be uncovered. God can cover all that you uncover. Please tell someone and begin the process of walking the road to having your own voice and the road to having your wounds healed.
For me, my turning point came when I entered the doors to Gateway Church five and half years ago; I just didn’t know it had come.
Hosea 4:6 (KJV) says: “My people perish for lack of knowledge”. I was perishing—dying on the inside. Someone told me about freedom classes at Gateway and I went, even though I was very skeptical. It wasn’t long before the way I saw myself began to change.
And the women I mentioned at that bunko game? They were not terrible women for discussing this subject. No, absolutely not. They were simply disillusioned and uneducated on the matter, just like me at the time.
Illusion means: something that deceives by producing a false impression of reality. So, [dis]illusioned means: to get free from illusion!
Just like me, they needed to be free from the false picture of reality that they had. I was disillusioned that I would always be a victim. The false picture of reality that I had of myself was that I was worthless; I was unlovable.
Through the classes and counseling, a transformation began to take place. The transformation started with a new set of eyes. The eyes I had looked through my whole life had spoken lies to me. My new set of eyes were from the Father, and over time He began to assure me of His love and that I, in fact, was WORTHY.
When you start to see yourself how God sees you, a new beginning will emerge.
In Song of Solomon 1:12-2:7, the Shulamite is ushered into a deeper experience of the King’s delighted love for her. She is brought to the King’s table where the provision for all her needs is laid out before her.
Don’t be silent. The King waits for you to come to his table, wherever that may be. Begin to speak and provision for all your needs will be laid out for you.
Now I’m “a new kind of woman”: one that went from victim to victor.
Who is with me?